Monday, June 9, 2008

Open Line-Ellen Hawley

Open Line
Ellen Hawley
Coffe House, May 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 9781566892094

In the Twin Cities, late-night radio talk show host Annette Majors jokes on the air that the Vietnam War was a government hoax. Whereas before she made her sublime commentary, Annette seemingly was going nowhere in radio; after the remark she suddenly has more than fifteen minutes of fame as her show is so hot it goes into national syndication.

Even her personal life awakens when rich Republican supporter Walter Bishop begins to court her. Walter uses her “belief” to launch a presidential bid for a relatively unknown wannabe and radical conservative Stan Marlin who supports her stand. Heeding their advice, Annette refuses to back down from her stance that there never was a Vietnam War. While some Viet Vets thinks she is a buffoon; others protest; and some still reliving their horrors seek closure through her.

This superb satire showcases the power of the media in which misinformation, disinformation, omissions, and fabrications are the norm. The key to this terrific tale is the players seem genuine especially Annette whose eloquent defense of her radical revisionism rings true. For those who reject the underlying concept remember there is an Iranian president denying the Holocaust; many people disbelieving the moon landings and a prominent right wing talk show host who using clever questioning of the vice president made it sound like Richard Clarke was below the inner security sanctum before 9/11. It is not WHAT HAPPENED as McClellan has said, it’s the spin. Well written and entreating, fans who appreciate a biting condemnation of the news will understand that Eisenhower’s military-government complex omitted the third partner the media.

Harriet Klausner

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